Illegal wild boar traps maiming stray dogs

Judith Tan Straits Times 13 Jun 11;

STRAY dogs are being maimed by illegal boar traps laid in forested areas of the north.

The canines have been losing legs after becoming ensnared in the wire loops.

Monkeys and even endangered species such as the pangolin have also been caught by the devices.

It is not known who is laying the traps, although groups of men have been seen entering the forested areas. It is believed they were hoping to trap the wild boar for food.

The dogs were abandoned when farms cleared out of areas in the north of Singapore. They live in deserted areas, foraging for food and falling prey to the illegal traps.

Their plight was brought to light when animal activists posted pictures online of injured dogs, some with only one, two or three limbs.

When The Straits Times visited the areas near Kranji on Friday, animal activists were trying to retrieve a female dog that had lost three legs, with the help of retiree S.C. Nar.

Mr Nar, 63, has been regularly feeding the strays every day for the past 11 years, spending up to $1,000 a month.

He told The Straits Times that the illegal traps were placed deep in the forested area, 'sometimes among the wild lalang'.

'Whenever one of the dogs goes missing, I will venture into the tall lalang, taller than me, to look for it, but I am growing apprehensive because of these traps,' he said.

Volunteer Colleen Goh, 42, was amazed at how trusting the dog with one good leg was, to allow Mr Nar to place it inside the carrier.

'I was very touched to see the trust she had for Uncle and how he, even though he tried not to show it, was so sad to see her leave. He called her Gao Bu (Hokkien for mother dog) and told her that she will be safe and was going somewhere where they will take care of her,' said Ms Goh.

The dog is being treated at Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital.

Wild boar can be found throughout much of Singapore: areas north of the Pan-Island Expressway; clusters around the Nee Soon Swamp Forest, Lower Peirce and Kranji Reservoirs, and the Western Catchment Area; and the forested areas along Old Choa Chu Kang Road.

At Lower Peirce Reservoir, a group of up to 15 wild boar has been sighted repeatedly.

In the Jurong area, sightings have become so common that at least two 'Caution! Animals Crossing' signs have been put up at the Jalan Bahar side entrance of the Nanyang Technological University.

In 2009, a sub-contractor fell into a camouflaged 3m-deep pit while looking for herbs and durians in Lim Chu Kang. The impact shattered a bone in his left foot.

A few weeks after that, a dog was rescued by animal welfare group Action for Singapore Dogs in the same area with its hind paw severed.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said yesterday that it was aware of the problem and is investigating.

Last year, the NParks and AVA were reported as saying they had no intention of capturing these animals.

The AVA does, however, authorise limited trapping or culling of wild boars, if they pose a nuisance or safety concern.

Although wild boar are not a threatened species, anyone found killing or keeping them can be charged under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, and fined up to $1,000 per animal.